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Panitumumab (Vectibix®)

About This Drug

Panitumumab is used to treat cancer. It is given in the vein (IV).

Possible Side Effects 

  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea (loose bowel movements)
  • Rash
  • Infection of skin around the nails

Note: Each of the side effects above was reported in 20% or greater of patients treated with panitumumab. Not all possible side effects are included above. You may have different side effects if you are receiving panitumumab in combination with other chemotherapy agents.

Warnings and Precautions

  • Inflammation of your cornea (the clear tissue of the eye) and other vision changes
  • Severe diarrhea and dehydration (lack of water in the body from losing too much fluid) that may cause changes in your kidney function
  • Severe allergic skin reaction. You may develop blisters on your skin that are filled with fluid or a severe red rash all over your body that may be painful.
  • Sensitivity to sunlight/light. You may get a skin rash/reaction while being out in the sun, sun lamps and tanning beds.
  • While you are getting this drug in your vein (IV), you may have a reaction to the drug. Sometimes you may be given medication to stop or lessen these side effects. Your nurse will check you closely for these signs: fever or shaking chills, flushing, facial swelling, feeling dizzy, headache, trouble breathing, rash, itching, chest tightness, or chest pain. These reactions may happen after your infusion. If this happens, call 911 for emergency care.
  • Thickening and/or inflammation (swelling) of the lung tissues, which may be life-threatening. You may have a dry cough or trouble breathing.
  • Changes in electrolytes

Note: Some of the side effects above are very rare. If you have concerns and/or questions, please discuss them with your medical team. 

Important Information

  • This drug may be present in the saliva, tears, sweat, urine, stool, vomit, semen, and vaginal secretions. Talk to your doctor and/or your nurse about the necessary precautions to take during this time.

Treating Side Effects

  • Manage tiredness by pacing your activities for the day.
  • Be sure to include periods of rest between energy-draining activities.
  • To help with nausea and vomiting, eat small, frequent meals instead of three large meals a day. Choose foods and drinks that are at room temperature. Ask your nurse or doctor about other helpful tips and medicine that is available to help stop or lessen these symptoms.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (a minimum of eight glasses per day is recommended).
  • If you throw up or have loose bowel movements, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated (lack of water in the body from losing too much fluid).
  • If you have diarrhea, eat low-fiber foods that are high in protein and calories and avoid foods that can irritate your digestive tracts or lead to cramping.
  • Ask your nurse or doctor about medicine that can lessen or stop your diarrhea.
  • If you get a rash do not put anything on it unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area around the rash clean and dry. Ask your doctor for medicine if your rash bothers you.
  • Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher when you are outdoors even for a short time. Cover up when you are out in the sun. Wear wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts, and pants. Keep your neck, chest, and back covered during treatment and for at least 2 months after treatment.
  • Infusion reactions may occur after your infusion. If this happens, call 911 for emergency care.

Food and Drug Interactions

  • There are no known interactions of panitumumab with food.
  • This drug may interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs and others) that you are taking at this time. Also, check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new prescription or over-the-counter medicines, or dietary supplements to make sure that there are no interactions.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse if you have any of these symptoms and/or any new or unusual symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher
  • Chills
  • Blurred vision or other changes in eyesight
  • Red or painful eye
  • Pain in your chest
  • Dry cough
  • Wheezing or trouble breathing
  • Tiredness that interferes with your daily activities
  • Diarrhea, 4 times in one day or diarrhea with lack of strength or a feeling of being dizzy
  • Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking and/or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Decreased urine, or very dark urine
  • New rash and/or itching
  • Signs of inflammation/infection (redness, swelling, pain) of the tissue around your nails.
  • Rash that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Develop sensitivity to sunlight/light
  • Signs of infusion reaction: fever or shaking chills, flushing, facial swelling, feeling dizzy, headache, trouble breathing, rash, itching, chest tightness, or chest pain. If this happens, call 911 for emergency care.
  • If you think you may be pregnant

Reproduction Warnings

  • Pregnancy warning: This drug can have harmful effects on the unborn baby. Women of childbearing potential should use effective methods of birth control during your cancer treatment and for at least 2 months after treatment. Let your doctor know right away if you think you may be pregnant.
  • Breastfeeding warning: Women should not breastfeed during treatment and for 2 months after treatment because this drug could enter the breast milk and cause harm to a breastfeeding baby.
  • Fertility warning: In women, this drug may affect your ability to have children in the future. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children. Ask for information on egg banking.

Revised August 2019

This patient information was developed by Via Oncology, LLC © 2019. This information is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have.

CLIENT acknowledges that the Via Pathways and Via Portal are information management tools only, and that Via Oncology, LLC has not represented the Via Pathways or Via Portal as having the ability to diagnose disease, prescribe treatment, or perform any other tasks that constitute the practice of medicine. The clinical information contained in the Via Pathways and Via Portal are intended as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the knowledge, expertise, skill, and judgment of physicians, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals involved with patient care at CLIENT facilities.